We get up close and personal with Ramón Hernández, CEO of BlueBay Hotels since November 2015. A young professional with plenty of experience and an innovative approach to the tourism sector, based on the use and optimisation of new technology.
What’s a typical day like as the CEO of a big international hotel chain?
I get up fairly early – it’s a habit I picked up after so many years living in the Caribbean, where the sun rises around 6am. I spend the first hour of the working day responding to important questions personally. I try to fit in all the presentations and meetings before noon, especially matters relating to Spain, the Middle East and North Africa. I try to balance the time I spend at the office with the time I spend in hotels, which is where I can really enjoy myself, learn and move forward. It’s the direct contact with our teams that I find most rewarding.
What do you do in your free time?
I spend most of my time away from home, either at the office or on the road. My goal is to be able to dedicate some time to my family, so we always look for activities that will allow us to enjoy nature and be out in the fresh air. The two towns where I spend most of my time, Playa del Carmen and Palma de Mallorca, are natural paradises where there are thousands of things to do, although the occasional Sunday lounging on the sofa with a bowl of popcorn is also a great way to clear your head.
Do you play sport on a regular basis?
Much less than I’d like. With our schedule, it’s tough to establish a routine, although with a bit of discipline you can do anything. I’ve put in my years as a runner, I’m always up for a game of Padel, and I play a few holes of golf with friends from time to time. One of my goals for 2017 is always to carry a pair of training shoes in my suitcase, so I can take advantage of the amazing gyms we have at BlueBay.
One record, one film, one book?
Some of the albums by Radio Futura (one of the biggest Spanish pop-rock acts of the ‘80s) left their mark on entire generation – for example, I still know all the lyrics of La canción de Juan Perro by heart. A few days ago my nine-year-old son said he hadn’t seen Star Wars, and we watched all seven episodes over one weekend. If only because the time we spent together, I’ll always have vivid memories of the entire series.Right now I’m engrossed in the latest novels from Ildefonso Falcones and Carlos Ruiz Zafón, not to forget Jesús Sánchez Adalid, who’s from the same part of Spain as I am. There’s also a new author, Jamal S. Iglesias, who has just published his first novel, La Puerta Abierta – “the open door.” I think he’s going to be big.
Your job means you spend long periods far away from the place where you grew up. Is there still something of your native Extremadura in your accent, your habits, and the way you see the world?
A great deal, I’m happy to say, and not only of my birthplace, but also the values that we grew up with as the generation of the ‘70s. It’s been 25 years since I moved away from my hometown of Moraleja, in the province of Cáceres, but I try to get back several times a year. As soon as I come into Extremadura on the A-5 motorway I feel at home. Everything is familiar: the smells, the light, the sense of peace I feel when I see the high plains of the Dehesa agroforests.
If you hadn’t chosen a career in the hotel business, which profession or trade would you have worked in?
I think that in the corporate world, especially when the volume of business or the structure of the workforce gets beyond a certain level, we’ve lost sight of personal relationships, and substituted them with tools like email or WhatsApp. Every company is bursting with talent, and often we’re unable to identify it, find the right place for it or cultivate it. I’d like to help spot and rectify these kinds of situation. I think I’d have worked in strategic consulting, business coaching, or as a headhunter.
What are your biggest dreams for the future?
In the medium and long term my dream, which I share with the company’s chairman, is to position BlueBay Hotels as a recognised leader in the hotel sector at a global level. It’s true that we already appear among the top spots in all the rankings, but we still have a lot more to give. With hard work and humility, we’re going to carry on growing. At a personal level, I can’t imagine a better place to spend my winters as a retiree than a suite at the Blue Diamond Luxury Boutique Hotel on the Riviera Maya – and the summers, of course, in Cáceres.